Home » The Ombudsman’s Office demands immediate actions: prison decongestion and guarantee of rights in the judicial system

The Ombudsman’s Office demands immediate actions: prison decongestion and guarantee of rights in the judicial system

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The Ombudsman’s Office demands immediate actions: prison decongestion and guarantee of rights in the judicial system

In response to recent incidents highlighting the precarious conditions in police stations used as makeshift detention centers, the Ombudsman’s Office, Colombia’s human rights defense institution, has issued an urgent call for action to the National Government. and to the Judicial Branch. The Ombudsman urges both entities to comply with the legal framework that governs the transfer of detainees to national correctional facilities, after their legal apprehension and subsequent judicial validation.

The Ombudsman’s call arises following a tragic event in which a police officer lost his life and another was injured while trying to prevent the escape of 13 individuals detained at the ‘La Minorista’ Police Station in Medellín, Antioquia.

Carlos Camargo Assis, the Ombudsman, expressed deep regret over the incident, attributing it to irregularities in the detention process within police stations and immediate reaction units. These irregularities, he highlights, are aggravated by the unconstitutional conditions declared by the Constitutional Court in Ruling SU122 of 2022.

The Ombudsman highlights the urgent need for coordination between the Executive Branch and local governments to address the systemic challenges that contribute to the use of police stations as de facto detention centers. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of judicial intervention to determine adequate detention facilities, as mandated by relevant legal provisions.

Despite the National Government’s efforts to alleviate overcrowding in police stations through a detainee transfer policy, the current pace falls significantly short. According to the Ombudsman’s assessment, at the current rate, it would take 13 years to completely vacate these temporary detention spaces.

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Faced with these challenges, the Ombudsman’s Office calls on the Judicial Branch to issue concrete measures that guarantee that the judges responsible for protecting legal guarantees determine appropriate places of detention for people subject to security measures. Furthermore, it urges departments, districts and municipalities to take responsibility for the custody and maintenance of detainees, especially in cases where local correctional facilities are not available.

The alarming increase in the number of detainees in temporary detention centers underscores the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to safeguard the rights of both detainees and custodial staff. In its unwavering commitment to defend human rights, the Ombudsman’s Office is committed to working tirelessly towards the regularization of transfers of detainees to national correctional facilities.

With this passionate call from the Ombudsman, there is hope for meaningful reform to address the systemic deficiencies that undermine the integrity of Colombia’s justice system and the fundamental rights of its citizens.

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